Mon | Oct 22, 2018


Published:Thursday | February 1, 2018 | 5:31 PM
Deputy Director of Tourism, the British Virgin Islands, Rhondie Skelton (left) and marketing manager Keith Dawson.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico:
Having lost 80 per cent of its marquee properties to hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the British Virgin Islands has returned to its core business - sailing.

"We were on pace to a record-selling year, then came Irma and Maria," BVI’s deputy director of tourism, Rhondie Skelton told the media during a product update press conference at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace now on in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Skelton said his country is now relying heavily on an industry that has been "good" to the tourism sector over the years.

He said the focus on water activities will include deep-sea fishing and diving, until the land-based businesses return to normal between the fourth quarter of 2018 and early 2019.

“To bolster our sailing, all the charter yacht companies are back, and one company in particular is replenishing its fleet with over 100 new boats,” Skelton stated.

The tourism deputy director, said properties such as Ann Garden Beach Club had bought several luxury tents and were already opened, but private islands such as Cooper, Norman, Little Dixs Bay and Necker, would not be back on the travel and tourism map until 2019.

More than 80 per cent of the BVI’s hotel inventory was destroyed by hurricanes in 2017.

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